Rick Chapple – guitar player in the band Devil Sold His Soul – answered a few questions about their new effort. I took quite a time to get the answers back and due to some personal problems it took even a longer time to put at least the English version online. Which is what you're going to read now. I hope you still enjoy it.
After "Blessed & Cursed" on September 21st 2012 it was time to release a new record called "Empire of Light". Both titles are diversifying quite a lot. You also changed the label. What's the reason for all the changes?
Sometimes you have to deal with what life throws at you and just learn from it and move forward. We have gone through many changes - different label, new bassist, new management and now we have a new album that reflects how we feel about the whole situation. A lot of the past year or two has been us dealing with all the changes going on around us. Some were changes we wanted and others were circumstances beyond our control. So we feel that this new album is somewhat a statement of intent, it's us saying we're still here, bigger and better than ever. We've had our knocks but we're back and stronger than ever as a group.
Can you tell us something about the songwriting and producing? When did you began? Who did you work with?
We began writing the album back in October last year. We had some riffs and ideas already in the works, but we decided to really concentrate on writing a large body of work from which to form an album. We gave ourselves a strict timetable and we did not want the writing process to drag on for months and months. We really challenged ourselves to be more concise and decisive when it came to songwriting. We wanted to try writing shorter songs and we also wrote longer songs as well. We really pushed ourselves.
The same has to be said with the recording process. We knew that we had to finish the record in the first quarter of the year in order to keep the momentum of touring throughout the year and build up well to an autumn release. So we got the album recorded and mixed in about 2 months and it was mastered by April of this year. Which is really quick for us. We worked with Jonny Renshaw (Guitar - Bandit Studios) who engineered, recorded and mixed the album. Being so close to the music really helped him with capturing the sound and essence of the songs. We are so pleased with how the album sounds. It really is a very personal record to all of us - so it feels good that we created and recorded it entirely ourselves. The album was mastered by Alan Douches in New York, who mastered Blessed & Cursed, and we were so happy with how that turned out that we decided to work with him again. He did a great job.
What influenced your songwriting musicwise and lyricswise?
Our inspiration comes purely from our own experiences. We are not a band to follow trends and we have never wanted to emulate other bands. I think we perhaps get most of our creative inspiration from books or movies. Lyrically I know that Ed likes to draw from his own experiences and everything he writes is always connected to something that has happened to him. For us, it is more important that people have their own inspiration from our music. It is the greatest reward when someone tells you that your music has helped them through bad times.
"Empire of Light"sounds quite positive but is kind of contradicting with the music. Still hard stuff to listen to with lots of clean vocals (which I really like) but you can still feel (or at least I do) the negative point. How'd you explain that?
Empire of Light is an extremely positive record. It is about never giving up and learning to come back stronger when life gets you down. But of course we are a heavy band. Always have been and always will be, so fundamentally our music will always have a dark side to it. We are just trying to push the boundaries of how heavy you can take music whilst still retaining an element of harmony and beauty. This is our passion so this is why we sound the way we do.
What's the difference to "Blessed & Cursed"?
The feel of the album is different. It was born from a different place. Empire Of Light is perhaps a more personal record. It means something different to us as a band and we hope people will hear that when they listen to the songs. Each song is different to any song on B&C. We never want to write the same song or album twice. We are extremely proud to have created an album which we think is just as good, if not better, than our last album which was loved so much by our fans.
What can your fans expect to hear on the new record. It's, for me personally, very different to what I heard to the former record.
They should expect a new twist to DSHS. Some more direct songwriting, as well as some new ideas and a lot of passion and energy. I suggest they put it on, turn it up and read along with the lyrics. We want it to crash over them like a huge wave. Some people get it straight away and sometimes it hits people after the second or third listen. There is so much to listen too - it is layered and huge. We hope they enjoy it.
What are your future plans?
Touring, touring and touring. We want to play in as many different countries as possible. We've just spent a month in Russia and we have a UK headline tour in November and then we want to hit Europe and go even further afield. We will play anywhere and everywhere. So come to a show and say hi!